Giant salvinia, an invasive water plant, has gained a foothold on two major South Arkansas lakes.

Maps produced by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission detail the infestation of the plant.

Dan Gregory, chairman of the Columbia County Rural Development Authority, made the maps public on Thursday.

The RDA operates Lake Columbia. The authority ordered an emergency three-foot drawdown of the lake on Wednesday. The hope is that the drawdown and cold weather this weekend will help control the plant.

The Game and Fish Commission describes giant salvenia as a free-floating plant, similar in appearance to duckweed but much larger. It grows on the water’s surface and can rapidly cover a large area, starving the water underneath of oxygen and light and choking out all other plants and animals if left unchecked.

CLICK THE COLLECTION at left to read more about giant salvenia in South Arkansas.

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